I am curious what kind of experience e-book authors have had. I am at a crossroads right now and am trying to make some decisions about where to focus my writing. I could focus more on HP or I could do the e-book gig and see what happens. What kind of experiences have people had with e-books? How did you promote them? Was it worth the time and effort?
I have several eBooks through Booktango. My experience with them has been a good one. I promote them through the usual social channels including LinkedIn and Scoop-it.
The first thing to know about ebooks is that you don't have to write new material to create an ebook. You can use articles from your Hubs or blogs without any problems at all. I've produced one like that, using all my articles on flamenco. It sells slowly - it would probably do better if I could be bothered promoting it!
What I'm trying to work out is - is it cost-effective to write a new ebook from scratch? A decent ebook is, I believe, around 20,000 words. That's 20 Hubs. If I write an ebook, will it earn more than writing 20 Hubs? 20,000 words is the entire content of one of my blogs. If I write an ebook, will it earn more than a blog? Based on my experience with my existing book, the answer is no. But maybe I'm doing it wrong...
It's best to use a service like Booktango or Smashwords, because you get your book listed in multiple formats in multiple stores (most of my sales are on iTunes). I haven't sold even one copy on Amazon Kindle.
http://www.bwmbooks.com/self-publishing … ressbooks/
I have sold almost 1500 Will Rogers, from Great Depression to Great Recession ebooks on Amazon. You have to be on Amazon or forget it.
Smashwords is a great way to get ebooks out to BN, Kobo, Ibooks, and more. But not to Amazon, the biggest digital bookstore in the world, for better or worse. )
I chose non fiction and political and economic non fiction. Very slow for my other 9 ebooks, but then I went to ACX and am getting guys to turn it into audiobooks. They go onto Amazon, Audible and Itunes.
But if you find a genre that is hot, and you are good, you can make bank. I don't make bank, but my opinion being out in the world is what is important, though I would like to sell more.
That's what I thought, but my book sells on iTunes, Barnes & Noble etc - but not one copy on Kindle.
By the way, Booktango sells them on Amazon as well as several other sites including Apple and they have 24 hour live online help.
Formats: PDF,Epub,Mobi, and I know I can see them on Kindle
That is interesting. Perhaps the Aussie kindle store is newer, and I think it is.
There is no Amazon in Australia. I listed it on the US site.
Why do you always talk to me like I don't know what I am talking about, Marisa?
Well, blow me down, look what happens when I'm not paying attention!
I stand corrected. Apparently the Australian Kindle store launched last November and I never even noticed. It is only ebooks, not the full Amazon service so maybe that's why it didn't get a huge fanfare in the press (or maybe I was just asleep at the time).
My book isn't aimed particularly at the Australian market so it wouldn't be that relevant to list there anyway,but thanks for pointing it out.
YW. Like I say, it is just getting started. You may want to change the categories your ebook is in. Don't compete in the most popular subcategories. Also buy it and send a few copies out. Do another book and then put it only on Amazon and offer it in Kindle Select for free. You may kickstart both books. So Marissa what is the name of your ebook? You must use a pen name.
I've deleted it. I noticed someone had left a nasty review, and I didn't want that review to affect my sales on other channels, where it does sell (iTunes, Barnes & Noble). Since it's made no sales in over a year on Amazon, I didn't feel I was losing out by deleting the listing!
I didn't have much latitude in what category to select, as the book is about dance.
I wish I found it that easy to just "write another book".
A negative review can help sales if it is unfair. Also it won't be seen on the other ebook stores.
It depends upon your subject, but I can highly recommend scribd.com if you are writing for an intelligent audience. (The website gets between two and three million page views per day.) Payment is prompt and restrictions are few.
I have used scribd.com as a tool of promotion by adding there pdf files, but i have never thought about adding a book there, can you tell me how to add books and how they pay you?
I'll be interested to see what WriterFox has to say. The big difference between Scribd and places like BookTango or Smashwords, is that Scribd publishes your book on Scribd. Nowhere else. Whereas Book Tango and Smashwords list your books in a variety of online stores (like I said, most of my sales are on iTunes).
I'm not sure how many people go to Scribd to find ebooks, but I suspect not many.
Scribd gets over 2,000,000 page views per day. Most Smashwords books are also available on Scribd. You don't give Scribd exclusive rights. You can publish there and anywhere else you want to. It costs you nothing to upload your work there so you really have nothing to lose. If you optimize properly, your ebook will be discovered from a Google search for the keywords.
Well, if Smashwords books are listed on Scribd, then it would seem more sensible to list on Smashwords rather than Scribd direct - that way, you cover more bases - and if you want to update the book, you only have to update it in one place.
I think authors get a smaller percentage of the sales price if it goes through Smashwords on the Scribd platform. Also, Scribd has started a new subscription service which allows readers to read all they want for a flat fee per month. If you upload an ebook directly to Scribd, you avoid all of that and can offer it for sale only, instead of part of the subscription service. The subscription service and the alliance with Smashwords are new to the site and I'm not that familiar with how it is working out.
http://blog.smashwords.com/2013/12/smas … ement.html
What if i have published a book on booktango or createspace, can i still upload it directly to scribd? Perhaps i need to learn more on using scribd. Till now i thought about it as a promotion tool only. Can i also earn if instead of uploading an ebook i upload any pdf file? I am totally zero at scribd..lol
You do understand, as I explained earlier, that Createspace is for creating printed books not ebooks?
Yes you can publish your book with more than one service.
You get paid by check or by Paypal, your choice. Minimum payment forwarded is $20.
http://support.scribd.com/entries/22305 … -documents
Scribd ebooks can be read on almost all smartphones, tablets and with apps on iPhone, iPad and Android. Also, they can be read on web-connected tablets like Kindle Fire or Nook HD.
My ebook are completely different from my hubs in content style and... just about everything. They are made specifically for book buyers and each make easily 100 times more than my best 20 hubs put together.
I do both because they are such different activities that I do not see it as an either/or proposition. Hub are short and easy. High quality books are.... not.
Thanks for that feedback. Can you tell me, what length are your ebooks generally?
I tried different lengths and the most profit per word is at about 30-40k, That takes into account sales volume/acceptable pricing.
Can you recommend any good sites/articles about how to be successful with ebooks?
With Booktango I have several books that feature about 6 to 8 hubs each with a few made up of about 20 hubs. Most sell for around $2.99 and the longer ones for $9.99. To date I get a check for an average of $299.00 per quarter. I found Booktango easier to navigate than Smashwords where I only have about 4 eBooks.
Easier, how? Is it the formatting? I am currently trying to publish my poetry book on Smashwords, and the formatting/line breaks, etc. were a bit of a steep learning curve.
I'm currently 'stuck' at trying to figure out how to make section divider pages that are blank except for the section title centered on the page.
Formatting on Smashwords is a headache, isn't it? I'm told Booktango is easier but I haven't tried it.
However, remember you're formatting for an e-reader not a printed book - the concept of "pages" doesn't really apply, and blank pages are not recommended.
You can create a blank page by simply using consecutive paragraph returns. But, this is not recommended because blank pages or gaps aren't suited to e-reading devices. Also, on Smashwords: "They will also cause an AutoVetter error and prevent you from achieving Premium Catalog status. A good rule is to never use more than four consecutive paragraph returns to arrange text on the page."
Right. Ugh. So much for neat, clean section breaks, then...it will all be run and smooshed together....
I finished each chapter with a centered row of characters (tildes and asterisks in a nice pattern), followed by a couple of line breaks, followed by the chapter heading in very large font. That made the break nice and clear, I think.
Their formatting and guidelines are easier than Smahwords.However, have a book cover ready instead of using their templates since they are very limited.
I have had three books that I have been trying to market off and on for about ten years. Finally, I read an article here about publishing on Kindle and CreateSpace, so I loaded them up on Kindle. It is early yet to see if they will do well, but it looks promising. I use Facebook, Twitter, and my home page to advertise it.
Carola, I recommend you also publish it at Smashwords or Booktango. That way, your book will be listed in various other stores and all the different ebook formats. It's worth it - I've found I sell most of my ebooks on iTunes, which would never have occurred to me!
Which infact should we prefer for ebooks-booktango, smashwords or creatspace? For a beginner like me which will be the best and perhaps easiest platform to begin with.
I use Smashwords but I've been looking into Booktango and it does look easier to use.
CreateSpace is a totally different thing - you use CreateSpace to create a POD (print on demand) book, not an ebook. You may be thinking of Kindle, which is the Amazon product: it publishes on Amazon only, so you really need one of the others to get better coverage.
Thanks to everyone for their replies. I am reading this with a lot of curiosity... Marisa has been asking all the same questions I have.
I'm glad I happened upon this discussion, I learned a few things. I want to put my recipes together but haven't made the decision. I think I'll take the chance.
Good luck, Cardisa! Way to move forward decisively!
I helped edit a recipe ebook. With all of the photos, bullets, and notes in such a style I would really recommend working with someone very experienced with formatting in the ebook platform. It can be more tricky than one might think and poor formatting can really drag a books success down.
Thanks Laura, that's the reason why I haven't done it yet. It's much different than publishing fiction on Kindle, they give you a template for that. I wish there was a recipe template as well...lol
You might want to look at Booktango, I believe their formatting is easier. As I said before, I've tried publishing on Kindle and on the other ebook formats via Smashwords, and to my surprise, I'm selling far more in the other formats than on Kindle. Booktango looks very similar to Smashwords with a couple of nice extras, so I think they're worth a try.
Thanks Marisa. I have a few short books on Kindle but I wouldn't publish my recipes there so I will try Booktango.
You are allowed to list your books in both Kindle and other formats, so I'd recommend putting the short books on Booktango too.
Yes, they don't have any restrictions.
By the way, all the ebook publishers warn that images don't work well on ebooks, so your recipe book might pose some challenges!
Yeah, I'm thinking that maybe Createspace might be the better choice for the recipe book. However I signed up on Booktango and will be adding my novellas there.
Great! Just to be awkward, it can also be a challenge to use images on Createspace, unless you make them all black and white. Colour printing can increase the cost of creating the book to the point where it's too expensive to sell.
What good is a recipe book without color? Bummer!
I know! My ebook is about flamenco, and a photographer on Flickr offered me some of his photos to use. I was really excited, until I discovered how poorly the images displayed on Smashwords. In the end I didn't use them at all in the text and just used one for the cover.
So then I thought, I'll do a POD version on CreateSpace, then I can use those gorgeous photos. But when I did the calculation, I discovered that even one or two colour photos would push the book out of a reasonable price bracket. I can't win!
Agreed, Cardisa--we've become thoroughly spoiled! I have some of my mother's old cookbooks, and there is nary a picture anywhere! Just the recipes; print only.
My 1960's version of "Joy of Cooking" has only sketches and line drawings, no real pictures, and those illustrations are limited and sparse as well.
I am in the process of putting my first ebook. It is going to be an anthology of my short stories, flash fiction and nano fiction pieces. Some months ago, I had to apply for some sort of US non-citizen tax thingo. So far, that has been the biggest delay.
I'm almost done with my first book. I am going to use Amazon to publish it. This is my first time ever trying this. I did simple google searches to find all the info on publishing. After you have your book done, it has to be formatted. This can cost anywhere from $50 to $300 depending on who you have do it. You also have to make sure the cover isn't a copyrighted image. Go to a stock site if you don't plan on making your own, or have someone make one for you. Again, this will cost money. Even though you can publish a book without spending anything, it's worth investing in it to make it look good. Best of luck! I will be publishing mine hopefully by next week
I published on Amazon. I hadn't heard of booktango. Glad I came to this forum
For those who have published ebooks, how successful have they been? I am almost done with mine and getting ready to take the plunge. And thanks to everyone for the amazing information!
I have made only a couple of hundred dollars on my ebook. However, since all the content is from my Hubs and blogs, and it didn't take me long to produce the book, I regard that as a good return on my effort.
If I was considering writing a new ebook from scratch, I probably wouldn't think so.
I've published a couple ebooks on Kindle. My last one sold 653 copies and nearly 7000 were given away during a free week promotion. I did 10 times better than my first release but not nearly as good as I thought it would do.
On my next book I will start the promoting at least 3 months in advance and make a plan to continue promoting for at least 3 months after the release date. When I stopped promoting my last book, I stopped getting sales... It's part and parcel with ebook writing.
If you go with Kindle, use the free promotion week but make a plan so it is most valuable to you. Most places online that will promote your free book offer need at least 2 weeks advance notice and many of them will also require that your book has at least 5 reviews.
There are tons of Facebook fanpages that will allow you to post a link to your free book, here are a few:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/freetod … j_approved
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Kin … 50?fref=ts
https://www.facebook.com/pages/I-Love-F … 5604869800
Tweet your free book to these places and more:
and retweet what they tweet, most of them will do the same so it is a great way to leverage Twitter.
Also, use these hashtags: #FreeKindlebooks #freekindle #freebook #FreeKindleBook #free #kindle #ebooks
#FreeKindleEbooks #ReadThis #authorshelpingauthors #Amazon #eBook
#BookBuzzr #BookGiveaway #BookMarketing #KindleBargain #FreeKindleReads #WriterWednesday #WW
The reason why you want to give your book away for free during a promotional period is because you want to get the word out about your product, get as many reviews as you can from verified kindle users and build momentum. If I didn't have nearly 7000 downloads I'm sure I wouldn't have had as many sales.
Make sure you partner up with bloggers and offer to make guest posts, book reviews and get a link back to your blog or to your book offer. This will have a long term effect. Do this for at least a month before and after your book is released.
Oh, and don't forget to make a great graphic or 2 or 6 and pin them on Pinterest linking back to your blog or book link.
My first book was a combination of 6 hubs I had here and my second book was a combination of dozens of old blog posts and bubblews posts. Both earned me more than they ever earned me online as stand alone articles. My next book should be done in about 3 months but it is a work of fiction and I'm trying for a traditional publisher first.
Fascinating information, though it all sounds exhausting! It sounds like it's the same story as everything else on the internet these days - you have to promote, promote, promote.
I like to work out my hourly rate for all my activities, so I can choose the projects that give me the best return for my time and effort. I'm not sure an ebook would earn enough to be worth writing it from scratch and the time spent on promotion.
Thanks for these great ideas folks. and thanks to the Hubber that posed the question.
I am assuming you all hired editors. Anyone know any good editors? That is what I'm in the process of doing right now. I desperately need a second pair of eyes- and preferably someone who knows quite a lot about ebook formatting. Any suggestions would be great.
No, I didn't hire an editor! I used a spell checker and read it carefully. I'm a good proof reader from my years as a typing pool supervisor (remember those?) but if I wasn't, I would have recruited a couple of friends to read it for me.
To qualify as a "best seller" in the ebook world, you need to sell only 100 copies. Very few ebooks sell into the thousands. You'll note LivewithRichard sold 653 copies of his last book, and he had to do a lot of promotion to achieve that. So think about what price the book will be, calculate your profit based on a few hundred sales, and make sure your costs stay low enough to make it worthwhile. Hiring an editor will probably not be economic.
Luis mentioned that Booktango have a very reasonable formatting service.
Here's a new Hub about how to publish an eBook:
http://drpennypincher.hubpages.com/hub/ … eBook-Free
I keep hearing a variety of information about what constitutes a good length for an ebook... this topic is so confusing for me. Anyone have any good advice about length? Mine is nowhere near as long as Psycheskinner's! Now I'm worried.
There are some ebooks which are only 3,000 words long. Just make it the length you want it to be, find the right publishing platform and price it accordingly. (The minimum length for an ebook on Amazon and Booktango is 2,500 words.)
My last one was only 15,000 words. There is no right or wrong length... just write until you are finished, unless it is fiction, then there are some concerns on who the fiction is written for. The book I'm writing now is geared towards young teens and I am aiming for 100 written pages (30,000 words)... Also, it really depends on what your intentions are with the ebook.
You may want to try what I did for editing and proofreading... I contacted an English professor at UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago) and told her who I was and what I was looking for and that I would offer $100 for a proofread and edit by one of her recommended students. I had no less than 6 of her students contact me with their proposals. One was so desperate that he low balled the offer to $50 but I wanted to pay the $100 to get the best job.
A second set of eyes is the best route to go no matter how good your spell checker program is. Spell checkers do not check context. It is an investment in your product but without all the marketing I mentioned earlier do not expect a good return on investment. My price point for the second book is only $2.99 and earns me a royalty of $2.06 for each unit sold.
My length is something that worked for me, my content, and my price point. I am sure it varies a lot.
Most books have a length they should be to acheive their goal without wasting the readers time, and that is probably the most important thing.
Thanks again to everyone... I have one last question. I have some studies I've used in my book. How on earth do you go about citing them in an ebook? Hyperlinking? A standard bibliography? Hopefully this isn't an obtuse question but this is all new to me.
There aren't any rules. Do it however you want to do it. How do you cite references in your Hubs? Look at the books on your bookshelf: some use footnotes on the page, some use footnotes at the end of each chapter, and some put notes and/or a bibliography in the end material.
(Generally, links are frowned upon.)
Whichever you like. In an ebook, it is possible to hyperlink so it's up to you. It really depends on the subject. Are you citing a book because you're suggesting it as a good source of additional information? Then hyperlink. Are you merely providing a source to prove you've done your research? Don't hyperlink, because too many links can get annoying for the reader.
Personally, I wouldn't hyperlink in an ebook unless the purpose of the book is to be used as a promotional device. A better route would be to cite the study and reference links to the study on your blog.
Yeah, but don't you have to cite your sources in the actual book? Or is that really old school and superfluous?
It's really up to you, unless you are going with a standard print publisher. Just remember that you are selling a product, you want/need good reviews and you should make it as professional as possible.
I always cite sources to show I am not just making stuff up and give credit where ti is due. I just put a small endnote mark in and then list them at the end according to AP or Chicago citation style. if you use Google scholar they format it for you under the "cite" link.
Cite them in your book AND on your blog. This helps build some credibility. I would keep away from placing hyperlinks within an ebook.. Write like a reader. As a reader, I would never click on a hyperlink in an ebook except if the ebook was so boring I could use the hyperlink as an excuse to let me escape. Try to format your ebook as much like a traditional book as possible when you are just starting out. I do know of some people that create children's ebooks that have tons of interactive objects within the body of print but remember that is because children have super short attention spans and need those types of distractions. If you're writing for adults, use a few distractions as possible unless you are trying to hammer down a point as with a chart or scale of some sort.
Liveiwthrichard makes a good point, which I hadn't thought of. The thing with ebooks is that everything's new so there is no standard.
I think putting the full reference list on your blog, with hyperlinks, is a great idea. It gives your readers a reason to visit your blog and perhaps discover your other work. So perhaps a non-linked bibliography with a note referring to your blog would be the way to go?
Yes, I sell ebooks all the time. Your best bet is to create social network accounts for each book or create a persona that act as a brand for your books as a whole. Twitter,Facebook and Pinterest are great, but a lot of people don't understand how to market their books effectively through these networks and end up giving up or spamming their Family and Friends.
Say on Amazon you have an ebook, why not write your own detailed review of your ebook and really go into detail about what the book is about. I've found that customers would rather know more about the ebook or book that they are going to buy and would want to make an informed decision about their purchase (because that's what I'd do)
To first publish an eBook it a great way to go for a self published author, that way you learn how to market your book before investing money in a printed copy.
I found this article last night about smashwords. It seems very in-depth and I'm actually extending my writing project to give it the best chance for exposure/popularity.
http://blog.smashwords.com/2013/05/new- … thors.html
If you go to writers forums they can tell you where they make their sales. I would suggest emphasizing places where sales are made (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Omnilit, maybe a few others). Places that make negligible sales are at best a waste of time and at worst a liability. Scribd is heavily implicated in pirating.
Wow! This thread has opened up a whole new world for me. Endless possibilities to just take a chance and see.
Thank you all for this discussion.
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